‘Second Founding’ of Mooney High School with $5M Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — When the renovations are complete, students and faculty of Cardinal Mooney High School will hardly  recognize the building, say school officials.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday at its front entrance  to start a $5 million renovation that will take three years  to modernize the  school that opened 59 years ago.

The bishop of the Catholic Youngstown diocese, George V. Murry, called it “a second founding.

Along with updating its structure , Cardinal Mooney principal Mark Vollmer said the renovations will make it more conducive for  students to learn.

“It’s an exciting time for the students,” Vollmer said. “It’s going to allow us to get all the modern technology, everything we need to really help our students succeed as 21st-century learners. “

The project is funded entirely by a donation of Denise DeBartolo York and Eddie DeBartolo Jr.,  both Mooney alumni.

“Alumni support is critical,” says the president of the school, the Rev.  Gerald DeLucia. “Without that, we would be in a difficult place —  because the continued generosity of our alumni is really what makes this all work.”

An updated exterior, energy-efficient windows and a new roof are among the improvements.

Other alumni have made donation  to help offset the $7,300 yearly tuition for families that need such help.

“Not only will these young people have a new school building physically, but they will also have a school where they will be getting tuition help,” DeLucia said. “That endowment will be given out to kids in need, who want that education, and their families can’t afford all of it. “

The diocese  hopes to see such renovations improve enrollment, which, according to Murry, has ended its decline and become stable.

“We are working on building that enrollment as we go forward,” Murry said. “When people understand that we are investing in this building and that there are more funds available for tuition assistance and academic scholarships, I think those who normally wouldn’t look at Mooney will look at it seriously.”

DeLucia said he hopes the renovation of the school will influence Youngstown officials to improve  the surrounding neighborhood as well.

“We would like to see the whole neighborhood revitalized with this as its center,” DeLucia said. “Our dream goes beyond this building to not only affect the minds of these young people,  but this whole environment. “

The diocese reaffirmed its commitment to Youngstown last year by deciding  to keep Cardinal Mooney on Erie Street.

“The idea of keeping it here would allow for young men and women from the suburbs and the city to easily come together,” the bishop said, “and we think that’s a very creative and productive mix.”

Pictured: Groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for the $5 million renovation of Cardinal Mooney High School.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.